Exercise Physiology is the identification of physiological mechanisms underlying physical activity, the comprehensive delivery of treatment services concerned with the analysis, improvement, and maintenance of health and fitness, rehabilitation of heart disease and other chronic diseases and/or disabilities, and the professional guidance and counsel of athletes and others interested in athletics, sports training, and human adaptability to acute and chronic exercise.
Who is an Exercise Physiologist? An Exercise Physiologist is a person who has an academic degree in exercise physiology, or who is certified by ASEP to practice exercise physiology [via the Exercise Physiologist Certified exam (EPC)], or who has a doctorate degree with an academic degree or emphasis in exercise physiology from an accredited college or university.
Where Do Exercise Physiologists Work? Exercise physiologists work in health promotion, fitness development, colleges and universities, clinical rehabilitation, and sport and athletic programs. Hence, they are hired as:
- sports and wellness program instructors and directors
- strength coaches for college, university and professional sports programs
- teachers at institutions of higher learning (i.e., if they have a PhD)
- researchers in companies that make physiological equipment for testing and evaluation
- managers and exercise leaders in corporate wellness programs
- instructors in health and fitness clubs
- supervisors of specialized health, fitness, wellness, or lifestyle programs in correctional services, police, fire, and emergency response organizations
- fitness instructors in YMCAs, spa and resort centers
- exercise specialists in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs
- fitness directors and managers in the military (such as the air force and army)
- exercise technologists in cardiology suites
- fitness instructors and supervisors at the state, regional, and national levels in sports and athletic programs including
- sports consultants in areas of psychology and training, biomechanics, efficiency and metabolism, and nutrition
- electrophysiology technologists in hospital settings
How Do You Become an Exercise Physiologist?
At the present time, graduates of non-accredited academic programs can sit for the ASEP Board Certification to access the "Exercise Physiologist" title. Academic accreditation is important to all professions. Exercise physiology is no exception. Hence, the following ASEP accredited academic institutions should be considered first before other academic programs:
- Slippery Rock University - Exercise Science
- Wright State University - Exercise Biology
- University of New Mexico at Albuquerque - Exercise Science
- Marquette University - Exercise Science
- Bloomsburg University - Exercise Science
- The College of St. Scholastica - Exercise Physiology
What Credentials are Required to Practice Exercise Physiology? The American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) sets ethical, educational, and professional standards for its members. The Center for Exercise Physiology (CEP), an independent professional organization, is responsible for accreditation of academic programs, board certification, and regulating the profession through title protection and licensure. Board Certification (EPC) is granted to ASEP members who pass a written multiple-choice exam and a practical exam that evaluates the hands-on laboratory skills and knowledge within exercise physiology. In addition to the exam, EPCs must maintained continuing education credits. EPCs are exercise physiologists by title, whether they have earned the bachelor's degree or the doctorate degree. All EPCs are responsible to upholding the ASEP code of ethics and for understanding the scope of practice of exercise physiologists as healthcare professionals.
What is the Employment Outlook for the Profession of Exercise Physiology? Increasingly, exercise physiology is recognized as a vital member of the allied health professions. Employment opportunities continue to expand within health, fitness (wellness), rehabilitation, and athletics. Graduates of accredited exercise physiology programs and/or those who meet the educational and hands-on requirements for the ASEP Exercise Physiologist Certified (EPC) exam find employment in diverse full-time positions, including but not limited to, health/fitness community, clinical/medical, and research/educational settings. The ASEP Board Certified exercise physiologist has an advantage in securing employment in the public sector.
What is the American Society of Exercise Physiologists? The American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) is national professional association dedicated to the professional development of exercise physiology. Founded in 1997, ASEP is a non-profit organization of professional exercise physiologists and students that are responsible for defining exercise physiology as a healthcare profession responsible to a code of ethics, accrediting educational programs, and standards of professional practice. ASEP committees actively work on professional and educational developmental issues and concerns, planning annual conferences, regional and state meetings, public awareness, and research activities that enhance the image and professional practice of exercise physiology. ASEP is committed to research that furthers the specialized body of knowledge that defines exercise physiology.
Who Belongs To ASEP? Any exercise physiologist can belong to the Society. ASEP members are educated professionals who are either students of exercise physiology programs or may have a bachelor or doctorate degree (or emphasis) in exercise physiology (or science). They are recognized as leading scholars and practitioners in the study and application of exercise physiology to fitness, health promotion, rehabilitation, and sports training. Exercise physiologists belong to ASEP because they understand the need for a unified voice that speaks to the academic, medical, and lay communities about exercise physiology as a healthcare profession.
What are the Objectives of ASEP?
- Unify exercise physiologists to promote and support the professional development of exercise physiology.
- Promote exchange of ideas and information regarding the accreditation, board certification, and practice of exercise physiology.
- Encourage the implementation of academic programs to meet the diverse professional interests and career opportunities in exercise physiology.
- Promote the exchange of scientific information between ASEP and organizations interested in health promotion, disease prevention, rehabilitation, sports fitness, and athletics.
- Set the agenda, enhance, and increase visibility of the exercise physiology as a healthcare profession.
- Commit to quality and integrity in exercise physiology through adherence to a formalized code of professional conduct and responsibility.
For more information, contact: American Society of Exercise Physiologists https://asep.org/ 1200 Kenwood Avenue Duluth, MN 55811 218-723-6297 218-723-6472 fax
Last updated: August 2004